Why do my kids whine? I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about this... especially yesterday when all three of my kids were going strong in whine mode. I would have rather sat in my car with its alarm going off for 12 hours.
In my experience, kids whine for 3 reason:
1) hungry. Amazing what a little protein from a nutritious snack will do for an attitude.
2) tired. Interrupted sleep patterns, short nights, skipped naps, make for cranky, cranky kids.
3) want attention or bored. I've seen this in itty-bitty 6 months olds up to 6 years olds. "I'm bored, I want you to read to me, I want you to play with me....". Spoken or grunted, the words are the same. Give me your undivided attention. Now!
Oh, I just thought of a fourth reason...
4) habit. Babies are born wanting to be the center of attention and their worlds fall off axis when everything doesn't revolve around them. That whiny voice says, "I'm important and I think you forgot for a second that I. Have. Needs." A parent continues to give in to the whining (just make it stop!) and the kid has a fabulous habit of whining. All. The. Time. I say to my kids, "I can't understand your voice because you are whining. Try again and speak with respect." It works like a charm and nearly immediately, a little one's tone changes. But I have to say that sentence roughly 546 times a day. I think they are catching on. Maybe.
Yesterday, my three kids were suffering from all four major causes of whin-o-topia. I was tired of hearing whining, so I gave them an un-nutritious snack of fruit gummy things. My #1 child was acting really tired and I told her to take a nap, but she didn't and instead got #3 up from a nap early and while I was reprimanding #1 for waking #3, #3 woke up #2. Then everyone was bored with nothing to do except play outside on a beautiful day while I tried to get work done outside. I wasn't giving them attention. I know! The travesty. Then, the habit of whining that I've been trying to kick to the curb (not literally), came rearing its ugly head in all three of my children.
The problem is, once all three (and sometimes four) whine-inducing scenarios are breeched, there is little than can be done to salvage the day. I could have handled things better yesterday. I should have addressed the trifecta of whine-causes first instead of hoping and praying that this one day would be different from any other day and my kids could live through a sugary snack, no nap, and receiving none of my attention. I should have put my to-do list on hold and gave them real food, forced rest, and then had a wonderful time playing with them.
The fantastic thing is, tomorrow is another day. Er, actually today is another day. And it is going fantastic with my new resolves....
And.... my husband felt such sympathy after hearing my whining about all their whining and he took the two oldest to work with him today. Love him!